Charged with Sexual Assault, Not Rape: UK News Site Kent Live Errs - iMediaEthics
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Kentlive.news reported that Trevor Collier was charged with rape in June 2017.  Collier, however, was was never charged with rape; instead, he was charged with “sexual assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and committing an offense with the intention of committing a sexual offense.”

Collier’s father, Gary Collier, complained to the UK press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation, over the KentLive.news article from Nov. 26, 2017, headlined, “Police have named a man charged with RAPING a woman near the University of Kent.”

The article’s headline was changed to “Police have named a man charged with the alleged sexual assault of a woman near the University of Kent.”

So what went wrong? The site mixed up sexual assault and rape in its reporting, according to IPSO. “The newspaper had assumed that the reference to a “serious sexual assault” meant that an original rape investigation had resulted in a formal charge; this assumption was inaccurate and represented a failure to take care over the accuracy of the article,” IPSO reported.

iMediaEthics contacted Kent Live to ask about the error and ruling; we were re-directed to Trinity Mirror, its publisher and haven’t heard back.

After Collier’s complaint, KentLive.news published a footnote on its article and a correction. The footnote read:

“On November 16 this article was published with the headline ‘Police have named a man charged with raping a woman near the University of Kent’. Although the accurate list of charges were in the body of the article, the headline and introduction referenced an initial rape investigation by police. We are happy to clarify this matter.”

The correction read:

‘On November 16 a previous version of the article ‘Police have named a man charged with the alleged sexual assault of a woman near the University of Kent’ was published with the headline ‘Police have named a man charged with raping a woman near the University of Kent’. Although the accurate list of charges were identified within the article, the headline and introduction referenced an initial rape investigation by police. We are happy to clarify that Trevor Collier was not charged with rape, however he was charged with sexual assault on a female, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and committing an offence with the intention of committing a sexual offence.’

The newspaper agreed with Collier’s father that the article was inaccurate. But, because KentLive.News offered to publish a clarification and correction, it was enough to correct the matter, IPSO ruled.

 

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Charged with Sexual Assault, Not Rape: UK News Site Kent Live Errs

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